Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Biti queries Green Fuel’s land deals

Biti queries Green Fuel’s land deals

21/05/2012 00:00:00
by Business Reporter

FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti has claimed Green Fuel, the company behind the 
US$600 million ethanol project at Chisumbanje, did not pay a penny for the 
vast tracks of land it now controls which represent up to four percent of 
the country.

The project is facing collapse as government resist pressure to introduce 
mandatory blending of ethanol with petrol with Ministers demanding answers 
on several issues, principally the pricing of the company’s E10 product 
which is only marginally lower than unleaded petrol.

Now Biti has also questioned the nature of the deal between Green Fuel and 
the state-run agricultural parastatal, ARDA.

Green Fuel maintains they have a transparent Build Own Operate and Transfer 
arrangement with ARDA under which the two private investors involved will 
develop the project, run it to recoup their investment before handing it 
over to the State.

But Biti said described the deal as “murky” claiming Green Fuel had gained 
control to vast tracks of land for its sugarcane estates without a paying a 

“That estate is now about 4 percent of Zimbabwe. That land was not bought, 
it was taken for free,” Biti told a privately-owned weekly.

“So the government of Zimbabwe is saying – what is the ownership structure 
now because you have taken all this land which you have not paid for. You 
have put US$200 million or US$300 million, but that is not equal to 4 
percent of Zimbabwe. That must be clarified.”

Biti also accused the company of being “greedy” as he backed Energy Minister 
Elton Mangoma’s reservations over the pricing of Green Fuel’s E10 product 
which is only US$0,10 less than the hydrocarbons currently in use in the 
country even before the government adds value added tax and other levies.

“The ethanol is being sold at US$0,10 less than the ongoing price of 
hydrocarbons,” he said.

“That is where we are saying, you are being greedy and we will not accept 

Green Fuel has since stopped production at Chisumbanje sending up to 600 
workers home. The company says it has exhausted storage capacity after 
stockpiling 10 million litres of product.

But Mangoma said the government would not introduce mandatory blending until 
all the outstanding issues are addressed.

“The viable option is that Green Fuel should be given the opportunity to 
export. As long I’m minister, I will protect the interests of the majority,” 
he said.

“I don’t want to go into the pricing, the facts are so murky, and these 
things must be done properly. Green Fuel has been given an opportunity to 
work with government.”

Promoters of the project says mandatory blending would save the country 
millions of dollars in fuel imports adding the money saved could used to 
improve the working conditions of civil servants as well as reduce the 
country’s massive debts.

Green Fuel has already created some 5000 jobs but these remain at risk 
unless the company can convince the government to introduce mandatory 


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